Mustang, Explorer, F-150 – Ford has some long-running nameplates in its stable. One of its most famous has laid dormant for over two decades now… but it’s about to make a comeback.
For thirty years, the Bronco was a mainstay of Dearborn’s truck lineup: a two/three-door SUV that went up squarely against the Chevy Blazer. But in the wake of the notoriety it achieved in the spotlight of the O.J. Simpson trials of 1994 and ’95, Ford discontinued the Bronco in 1996. (So much for the myth of there being no such thing as bad publicity.)
The automaker toyed with the idea of reviving the truck in 2004 when it revealed a new Bronco concept at the Detroit Auto Show. 14 years later, it still hasn’t put that show truck into production.
Prepare to get Boxy
After decade and a half of design evolution, we wouldn’t expect the production Bronco to follow the 2004 concept too closely. But you can anticipate a similar form, with rugged truck styling updated for a new era. Ford may, however, use the opportunity to showcase a new design direction for its truck lineup.
Breaking with tradition, word has it that the new Bronco could ditch its two/three-door form in favor of a more popular and versatile four/five-door setup. Picture a downsized Expedition, or a Ranger with a wagon roofline (instead of a pickup bed), and you likely won’t be too far off.
Alternatively, you can check out these speculative renders of the rumored five-door model from the folks over at Bronco6g.
What about the interior?
The interior will also likely follow similar themes that we’ve seen inside other Ford trucks. Expect the automaker to pack in all its latest infotainment technologies, centered around its Sync 3 system. We’d be surprised to see more than two rows of seating, though.
Platform and powertrains
As a mid-size SUV, the Bronco will likely borrow much from the new Ranger – another truck nameplate that Ford recently brought back into its North American lineup. The five earlier iterations of the Bronco were all powered by straight sixes and V8s. But these days, Ford’s all about EcoBoost. So we’ll likely see a turbo four (or maybe even the compact 2.7-liter turbo six) under the hood, driving all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission.
Who are its main competitors?
With many formerly truck-based SUVs having gone the way of the crossover, the closest competition the new Bronco may face is the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota 4Runner. If the Chevy Blazer and Toyota FJ Cruiser return, those would likely be prime competition as well. Ford will, however, continue to challenge the crossover market with the Edge and Explorer, and larger SUVs (like the Chevy Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia) with the Expedition. So don’t expect it to be too car-like, or too big.
When will I see it at my dealer and for how much?
Ford has indicated a 2020 return for the Bronco, which means it could reach dealers either as 2020 or 2021 model. Expect pricing to start in the high-$20,000 or low $30,000 range.